Bernice S-TESL

At this year’s WAESOL conference, I attended a crowded presentation on the “Flipped Classroom” given by two area teachers I did not know well. Much to my surprise, one of them asked those present if they had attended S-TESL. To my surprise (and delight), about 1/3 of the room raised their hands. The presenter proceeded to explain her flipped classroom activities in relation to the concepts of Facilitative Language Teaching/ARPEE that she had learned over 15 years earlier. It was so rewarding to see the S-TESLers in attendance immediately nod their heads with understanding and appreciation.

It’s this kind of experience that reminds us here of the durability of what happens at S-TESL. All year long I hear something like this from alumni: “My time at S-TESL was the absolute best learning experience I have ever had to this day – bar none!” Although our time with students is relatively short, the impact is long. Isn’t that what we all hope for with our students?

This year we completed our successful transition to Seattle Pacific University. In many ways, it was like a move because so many things changed. I’m especially grateful to our administrators and instructors who kept our students at the forefront while attending and adjusting to the many details. Everyone at SPU has been most helpful and welcoming, too. It is a new era for the school!

I’ve enjoyed hearing from many of you over the last year. Our community continues to stay connected and grow via the many tools available to us now. Our email listserv, public Facebook page, SWBAT Facebook group, and LinkedIn connections all provide different avenues for staying in touch. The days of handwritten letters or postcards are long gone! In the New Year, we will launch a blog along with a re-designed website, so stay tuned for that development. Our professional development workshops in February and April are another way we offer continuing education to our community. Several of us are really excited to attend the TESOL Intl. Conference in Portland in March. Will you be there?

Many of you have contacted me and asked, “How can I help S-TESL?” What a wonderful question! You are helping in so many ways already simply by staying in touch and teaching us. Several of you have volunteered to participate in our new blog. It energizes us to learn from our colleagues.

Here are some other ways to stay connected and to help the school:

  • Identify yourself as an S-TESLer in your communities so that people will know where you got your start.
  • Help us share information about our TESOL program (our YouTube channel has an introduction) and our Workshops via Facebook or LinkedIn.
  • Attend one of our information sessions as an alumnus.
  • Alert me to ways S-TESL can continue to grow and learn.

In closing, I will add that this year was also a milestone year for my own family. My older daughter completed her Peace Corps service in Burkina Faso. Her return home reminded me about culture shock upon re-entry. Her life has changed drastically in her new job with a biotech company in San Francisco. My younger daughter graduated from college this year and expects to be teaching in Korea soon with her newly-minted S-TESL/SPU TESOL Certificate. Now I have an authentic S-TESLer in the family! I have learned so much from both of their experiences and this in turn helps me improve our program, too. It’s a joy to see them take their places in the world.

On behalf of all of us here at S-TESL, I wish you a joyful holiday season, and, as we say in German, einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr! (google it! – it just doesn’t translate too well in English).

The following two tabs change content below.
M.A. Linguistics, University of Arizona, BA International Studies, Miami University Bernice began her career at S-TESL in 1992 as the pronunciation instructor for the ESL class. From 1993 – 2004, she was a TESOL teacher educator and taught many courses in the intensive, evening, and online formats. In addition, Bernice developed curriculum for several of the courses. From 2004 – 2015, Bernice was the Director of the school.